In the United States, most children with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders now survive their diseases. Through research and treatment, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has helped make that progress possible.
But the outlook can be far less optimistic for children who live in other parts of the globe.
Worldwide, more than 90% of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries. Too many of those children lack access to adequate diagnosis and treatment. Most of them will die from their diseases.
That statistic is about to change.
The hospital has launched an ambitious initiative to improve access to care to children with cancer and life-threatening blood diseases in every corner of the world, and to develop plans to enhance its quality and provide better options for cure. Led by the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine, St. Jude Global will create a network of interactive institutions that will form a global alliance focused on reducing this gap worldwide.
The mission of St. Jude Global is to improve the survival rates of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide through the sharing of knowledge, technology and organizational skills.
St. Jude Global pursues its goals through a visionary approach that incorporates three foundational pillars:
Education – St. Jude Global Academy
To train the clinical workforce that will be required to meet our mission
Capacity Building and Patient-Centered Care
To develop and strengthen health systems and patient-centered initiatives that encompass the entire continuum of care required for children with cancer and non-malignant hematological diseases
To advance knowledge in global pediatric oncology and hematology through research to sustain a continuous improvement in the level and quality of care delivered around the globe
This is really a change in focus. It's about building a workforce. It's about establishing consortia of institutions, and then teaching them how to do clinical research so they can continually advance the level of care they provide to children within those regions. And then it's about working across those regions around the globe so that we all learn from each other.
The care for children with cancer requires a multidisciplinary team of caregivers that includes pediatric hematologist/oncologists, pathologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, infectious disease experts, psychologists, pharmacists, nurses, social workers and a large administrative support team. Building this diverse workforce remains one of the most significant challenges to providing quality care in low- and middle-income countries.
Treatment also requires access to advanced medical care facilities with capabilities including advanced diagnostics, bone marrow transplantation, limb-salvage surgeries and radiation therapy. Because no single facility can provide this broad range of services, national and regional centers of excellence must be developed.
To train the workforce to meet these needs, St. Jude Global will establish a comprehensive training program both on our campus and at regional sites.
- Global Medicine Fellowship
Through this program, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellows at St. Jude can conduct their training and research in the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine. Fellows will acquire the knowledge and skills to deliver pediatric cancer care in low- and middle-income countries and engage in pertinent research.
- St. Jude Global Academy Training Seminars
This is a focused, certificate-based training for health care providers working in the St. Jude Global Alliance sites. The seminars combine distance learning and on-site education at St. Jude. The distance-learning component provides the foundational knowledge, and the residential learning component helps consolidate knowledge and support the development of dedicated initiatives that the trainees will develop upon return to their home programs.
- Global Scholars Program
Rising physician leaders will complete a rigorous, two-year program leading to a Master of Science degree in Global Child Health through the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Scholars in this program will study with St. Jude faculty and visiting adjunct faculty. Participants will also conduct research that advances care around the world.
- Regional Education Programs
These two- to four-week certificate programs are tailored to the specific needs of each region. St. Jude and the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine help regional faculty and staff prepare curricula and testing methods. In some cases, participants visit the St. Jude campus for hands-on training.
- St. Jude Global Fellowships
Physicians from low- and middle-income countries may take part in St. Jude training programs administered in their home countries. After completing a pediatric residency, a physician may enter a two- to three-year pediatric hematology-oncology training program. St. Jude Global will provide a unified curriculum, train the programs’ leaders and develop distance-learning modules. Fellows may also travel to the St. Jude campus to take part in related courses.
- Distance Learning
St. Jude Cure4Kids, a web-based platform for education and collaboration, supports live meetings for member sites and other pediatric oncology professionals worldwide. Not only does St. Jude Cure4Kids offer online training, education and collaboration tools for the international health care community, but it teaches children and parents about the science of cancer. Explore online resources >
Capacity Building and Patient-Centered Care
Ensuring that all children have access to a level of quality care requires an infrastructure that allows for the rapid sharing of expertise and experience beyond a single institution or a single country. Each type of pediatric cancer is exceedingly rare. No single institution will gain enough experience to treat all types of pediatric cancers and blood disorders. The only way to tackle this problem is to develop regional partnerships or consortia. St. Jude Global has designed specific clinical care initiatives required to advance care on a global level.
- Provide administrative and organizational support for the formation of regional networks and associated funding
- Develop evidence-based, resource adjusted treatment guidelines
- Develop nursing care standards and associated staffing models
- Develop infection control and supportive care programs
- Implement quality and safety programs
- Provide avenues for peer review across all aspects of patient care
- Develop regional centers for training and delivery of highly complex medical procedures, such as bone marrow transplantation, advanced diagnostics and specialized treatment
Advances in patient care can only come by a step-wise improvement in the level of care delivered within the context of the local health care environment. By carefully integrating research principles, we will advance and generate the knowledge for continued and sustained growth in fulfillment of our global mission.
St. Jude Global faculty share their expertise and serve as mentors for St. Jude Global Alliance sites. The goal is to help facilitate research on a worldwide scale—enabling members to perform high-quality and successful research, as well as partnering in the development of local context-specific research projects.
The St. Jude Global Alliance manages these efforts, and regional and global networks will grow to adopt consortium-like functions to support research.
A broad portfolio of research opportunities will be created in the fields of:
- Quality and implementation sciences
- Population sciences
- Context-adapted clinical trials
St. Jude Global will support research infrastructure development and implementation through the Global Analytics and Global Clinical Research Support Units.